Capitol Insider: Lawmakers, Services, and Money

February 5, 2013First week of Session


Welcome to the Our Oregon Capitol Insider, a newsletter designed to keep you informed about the most important goings-on in Salem during the legislative session.

This Week

Tax Breaks in Focus

While Oregon’s tax breaks have grown year after year, costing the state billions of dollars, other programs and services have suffered reduced or static budgets. Further, these tax giveaways have grown unchecked and beyond expectation.

► The Senate Committee on Finance and Revenue will hold a hearing Wednesday at 1pm (HR A) to review Oregon’s Tax Expenditures report, the list of 378 special tax breaks, credits, and exemptions written into Oregon’s tax code.

► The House Revenue Committee will holding their hearing to review the report on Thursday at 8am (HR A.)

Over the weekend, the Oregonian published an article on the momentum to reign in out-of-control tax breaks the state gives away.


Many key legislators are taking a very close look at how to put the brakes on tax breaks – primarily those that only benefit big corporations and the wealthy – in order to put more funds into Oregon classrooms and vital services. And for good reason: We’re expected togive away more than $36 billion in tax breaks over the next two yearsThat’s an increase of 29% since 2009, even while cuts have been made to schools and health services for seniors.

If you can’t make it to Salem, you can live stream the hearings here.

Overview of Governor’s Budget

Various Joint Committee on Ways and Means subcommittees are holding informational meetings this Thursday to examine components of the Governor’s proposed budget, including:

  • Subcommittee on Natural Resources1pm in H-170
  • Subcommittee on Transportation and Economic Development1pm in H-174
  • Subcommittee on Public Safety3pm in H-170

Salem Scoop

► With the swearing in of Speaker Tina Kotek on January 14, the Oregon House not only gains an accomplished new leader — the state makes progress as the first state in the nation with an openly lesbian legislative leader.

► It looks like Friday will be an, um, exciting day at the Capitol building. More than 300 self-proclaimed “Gun Patriots” have announced their intention to rally inside the Capitol Building with their guns.


OUR OREGON  |  INFO@OUROREGON.ORG  |  503.239.8029
The Week in One Image
Since 2007, tax expenditures (tax breaks) increased by nearly 30%, while K12 school spending essentially flat-lined.

Quick Hits

1. Hearings on Tax Breaks: Wednesday at 1pm and Thursday at 8am.

2. Meetings on the Governor’s Budget: Throughout the day Thursday.

3. New tool available from the Oregon Legislature to help navigate meetings, bills, committees, and reports.


In the News1. Democrats examine tax breaks to balance budget, as reported by The Oregonian2. Analysis on the out of control growth of Oregon’s tax breaks, from The Sockeye3. The Statesman Journal provides a rundown of what to expect from main policy areas this session.



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